Fire / Smoke

Back to the safety demonstration and the crew will point out floor or seat-mounted emergency lighting. This low-level lighting automatically illuminates if the aircraft power fails. White lights indicate the escape path and either red lights or strobe lights indicate exits.

Two of the passengers who died on an Air Canada DC-9 in 1986 were Canadian Airforce personnel, who had crawled past overwing exits in thick smoke and were overcome. A flash fire engulfed the aircraft interior 90 seconds after landing

If there is a fire on board, the crew have BCF (halon) fire extinguishers to fight it. Should the source remain unidentified or the fire become out of control, an immediate emergency descent will be made. If smoke invades the cabin, since it rises, it is best to put your head as low down as you can (get into something like the brace position). Use headrest covers, pillow cases, or any material to cover your mouth - it works better if it's wet and keep your eyes closed. Keep as low down as you can until the aircraft has landed. Remember to memorise the position of your nearest exit - how many seat rows will you have to crawl past to find it? Passengers in the front cabin of any 747, or the front half of a 747-300/400 upper deck cabin will have to go back to locate their nearest exits - there are no exits forward from those seat positions. It is wise to remember that it is smoke inhalation, not burns, that causes most deaths in a fire.

Passengers on a Pacific Western 737 initiated an evacuation when a left-hand engine failure resulted in a fire which subsequently engulfed the aircraft. Their rapid action was a major factor in everyone on board escaping alive.
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